SCOTLAND's biggest council has confirmed the UK Government has explored a "potential site" to house an asylum barge in Glasgow.

Susan Aitken made initital comments claiming the UK Government was seeking consent from the council for a barge online as the first group of migrants arrived on board the Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge in Portland Port, Dorset, despite safety concerns.

Referring to reports of those concerns, Aitken claimed the UK Government was seeking consent form Glasgow City Council for an asylum barge to be “sited in the city”.

She wrote: "The UK Government wants Glasgow City Council to give consent to an asylum barge being sited in the city. We will not give it. Glasgow’s communities are proud to be beacons of support and integration for asylum seekers & refugees. This is the polar opposite of that.”

First Minister Humza Yousaf retweeted the comment less than an hour after it was posted.

When asked, the UK Government’s Home Office said they were “not confirming anything at the moment”.

However, a spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “The council was made aware that agents working on behalf of the Home Office were exploring a potential site for a barge within Glasgow.

“The council has made it clear to the Home Office that it does not support such a move.”

The site referred to is unknown.

Sabir Zazai, the CEO of the Scottish Refugee Council thanked the council and Aitken for rejecting the notion of a UK Government barge whilst a refugee-led campaign based in Glasgow, Refugees for Justice, replied: “We must never support a plan which may potentially lead to death of human beings.

“Whoever is Supporting such a plan must look deep inside their soul and accept that they are taking part in this death trap.”

The Home Office has struggled to find areas to accept ships to house asylum seekers. 

Edinburgh has already knocked back a request from the Home Office for an old cruise ship to be used, with the leader of the council, Labour's Cammy Day, describing it as “floating prison” for asylum seekers.

The Scottish Government when approached for comment, replied with this statement: 

“We have repeatedly urged the UK Government to improve the asylum system to make it humane and fit for purpose for people who are fleeing trauma and violence. We have made clear that vessels are not suitable accommodation for people seeking asylum, not least because of the strict restrictions on people including having no right to work and no recourse to public funds – a punitive policy which prevents access to most mainstream benefits.

“If the UK Government chooses to impose the use of vessels to accommodate people anywhere in Scotland we have said it must be accompanied by suitable funding for the council and public services like health so that people can be welcomed and supported appropriately.”

According to refugee charity Care4Calais, several asylum seekers did not board the Bibby Stockholm barge on Monday as their transfers were “cancelled” by lawyers as housing anyone in a "quasi floating prison like the Bibby Stockholm is inhumane".

Chief executive Steve Smith said: “None of the asylum seekers we are supporting have gone to the Bibby Stockholm today as legal representatives have had their transfers cancelled.

“Amongst our clients are people who are disabled, who have survived torture and modern slavery and who have had traumatic experiences at sea. To house any human being in a ‘quasi floating prison’ like the Bibby Stockholm is inhumane. To try and do so with this group of people is unbelievably cruel. Even just receiving the notices is causing them a great deal of anxiety.

“Human beings should be housed in communities, not barges. The Government could just get on with processing people’s asylum claims, instead they are playing to a gallery that seems to thrive on human suffering. We will continue supporting people to challenge their decision.”

Furthermore, Amnesty International condemned the decision to house asylum seekers on the barge in Dorset on Monday.

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrant rights director, said: “It seems there’s nothing this Government won’t do to make people seeking asylum feel unwelcome and unsafe in this country.

“Reminiscent of the prison hulks from the Victorian era, the Bibby Stockholm is an utterly shameful way to house people who’ve fled terror, conflict and persecution.

“Housing people on a floating barge is likely to be retraumatising and there should be major concerns about confining each person to living quarters the typical size of a car parking space.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Refugee Council said: “We welcome this decision from Glasgow council. These barges are wholly inappropriate accommodation for people who have arrived here seeking protection. Everyone has the right to safe housing and we strongly oppose the use of barges and army barracks to house vulnerable people fleeing war and oppression.”